Good conditioning is obviously a key to any team's success. The New York Islanders seem to have learned that lesson quite well.
The Islanders look to remain perfect this season on the second night of back-to-back games on Wednesday when they face the Ottawa Senators at Scotiabank Place.
New York (19-13-3) continued its impressive play Tuesday with a 2-0 victory at home over the archrival New York Rangers as Rick DiPietro stopped 28 shots for his second straight shutout and third in a row at home.
Jason Blake and Arron Asham scored for the Islanders, winners of two straight and four of five.
"Ricky's been the key for our success," Islanders defenseman Brendan Witt said. "He's been great in stopping the first shot, then we've been able to clear out just about all the rebounds."
Wednesday provides New York with an opportunity to improve to 7-0 this season on the second night of back-to-back games. The Isles have dominated opponents in the first six, outscoring foes 30-10.
The Islanders have been one of the league's biggest surprises to this point, and begin play just two points behind Atlantic Division-leading New Jersey.
"I don't think anyone expected us to do as well as we've played at this point," DiPietro said. "We still have more work to do, though."
The combination of Blake and captain Alexei Yashin on the top line continues to be a potent one for the Islanders.
Blake has five goals in his last four games and with 21 overall is on pace to easily surpass the career-high 28 he had last season. Yashin, meanwhile, has at least one point in all five games since returning from a knee injury, collecting two goals and four assists during that span.
Ottawa (18-18-1) overcame a sluggish start Saturday and scored three third-period goals in a 6-3 road victory over lowly Philadelphia.
Captain Daniel Alfredsson had two goals and an assist for the Senators, who had lost two straight and six of their previous eight games.
"Losing that one could have been tough, very tough. I thought that was very encouraging bouncing back the way we did in the last two periods. That shows some character," Alfredsson said.
Despite the win, the Senators are last in the Northeast Division and wouldn't make the playoffs if the season ended today.
One bright spot for Ottawa is the upcoming schedule, which has it playing 10 of its next 13 games on home ice. The Senators, though, are a disappointing 6-9-0 there after going 29-9-3 there last season.
"We've got a big homestand and 45 games left and we've got to win a lot of them," said Heatley, who has two goals and five assists during a four-game point streak.
Heatley should be happy to see the Islanders come to town. He has goals in seven consecutive games against them with eight total in that span, including two in a 4-2 victory on Long Island on Dec. 5, the Senators fifth straight win in the series.